Georgina Wilson is now Mrs. Arthur Burnand
SUPREMO - Tim Yap (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2016 - 10:00am

Funny that my dress looks Filipiniana. It’s actually by Marchesa,” says Georgina Wilson, looking at herself up and down and realizing that the pouf of her sleeves resembles that of a terno.

It was the day of Georgina’s despedida de soltera and around 20 of her friends flew halfway across the world from Manila to make it to London then onwards on a train bound for the English countryside town of Winchester, Hampshire.

“We’d better arrive early ‘cause the Brits are prompt with time,” said my roommate JM Rodriguez, making us the first two guests at the despedida held at Hotel du Vin, just five minutes away from the Winchester Cathedral, known all over England as one of the oldest churches in the land. Georgina’s mom Tita Aurora Wilson was still busy setting up the venue for her beloved daughter’s final evening as a single woman.

Georgina was going to marry Arthur Burnand, a Hong Kong-based executive with Swire Properties and an entrepreneur starting his sock empire. 

Winchester is also known for the symbol of medieval mythology — King Arthur’s round table, found in Winchester Castle. “Hmm, maybe that’s why Arthur decided to marry his Gwenevere, er, Georgina here,” I said to myself. We arrived at the courtyard of Hotel du Vin  just a minute earlier than Hugo Burnand, Arthur’s cousin and photographer to the British royal family. Hugo is known to be the lensman that snapped Kate Middleton’s wedding to Prince William.

Collective Gasp 

Later on, more guests arrived including Arthur’s colleagues from Hong Kong (where he and Georgina first met), Anne Curtis who came with sister Jasmine, Solenn Heussaff (who’s getting married next week in Brittany, France) with hubby Nico Bolzico, the Diaz family with its powerhouse cast of strong women. I saw Raymond Santiago, Georgina’s trusted one when it comes to her crowning glory, and I asked where Georgina was. “We are just about to do her hair,” he said. It was comforting that even in a small town in Hampshire, the Filipina reigned.

Then on that night of an April spring that felt more like winter, Georgina arrived like the snow queen, escorted by her fiancée Arthur, a picture of British nobility, gallant and suave as he escorted his lady into the courtyard to meet his parents. Applause. Big smiles on everyone’s faces. Nonstop pictures. Guests posing and posting nonstop on social media.

This was going to be the scene for the next few days. Arthur and Georgina walk in, there’s a collective gasp of adoration for the couple, pictures (lots of them) are taken, and then all the guests exchange pleasantries. The Manila crew would go on an impromptu photo shoot (the country’s top names in blogging were in attendance, sniped by no less than BJ Pascual himself — so why not?) in between getting to know everyone. The guest list, a hodgepodge of people from all over the world, low-key names from global fashion, Filipino celebrities, and the closest kith and kin of both Arthur and Georgina totaling a little over 200.

Ben Buttery, married to Thai celebrity Paula Taylor, broke the ice and told us about the love story that is Arthur and Georgina while Georgina’s cousin Belle Daza talked about how they have “not seen Georgina happier and more punctual” than now that she is with Arthur. She also formally and wittily welcomed Arthur to the Diaz clan. “We may sometimes say bad things about each other, but never agree. Also, there’s always room for dessert. Welcome to the family!”

Secret, Intimate Wedding 

Georgina intentionally decided to keep her engagement and wedding a secret. “I wanted to keep it as intimate as possible, surrounded only by close family and friends.” Georgina called each and everyone on her list personally before the end of last year, to inform them and invite them to her special day. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised when I got the call.

Fast forward to a few months, here we are, watching her walk down the aisle in a beautiful Monique Lhuillier bridal gown, a gift from her “fairy godmother” (as Georgina put in her Instagram account) Dr. Vicki Belo.

We are all used to seeing Georgina all glammed up but nothing could prepare us for her special day. A woman really has a different glow on her wedding day. Happiness does that, I guess. I saw how proud Georgina was when she marched down the aisle with her dad Robert Wilson, how she smiled and giggled when she looked at Arthur and how she broke down while saying her vows to the man she chose to marry. She was royally radiant, to say the least. 

Even at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Winchester, a crowd of Filipino fans had gathered, hoping to witness Georgina and any of the “it” girls who attended their besties’ wedding and get a selfie out of it. I saw a fan go up to Anne, asking for a picture. “But it’s not my wedding,” Anne whispered politely to the excited fan. Meanwhile on social media, the hashtag #TheBurnands was on fire. People were happy, excited and shocked (or all of the above) about the wedding that they knew nothing about. 

“I saw myself flying from Hong Kong to Manila more and more to visit Aurora. And now I see you taking that same flight to visit Georgina,” said Georgina’s dad Robert as he talked  to Arthur about the parallelism between two British guys who fell in love with their Filipina girls.

At the wedding reception held at Avington Park, the guests had a ball exploring the huge estate with sprawling greens, a palatial Victorian home and a beautiful park. The venue is a frequent shoot location for Vogue. I can totally see why Arthur and Georgina chose this venue for their wedding party.

And party they did. Between Georgina and Arthur’s friends from all over the world, everyone knew how to take things to the next level. “Did you have the best time?” Georgina messaged me a few days after the hurricane of a wedding party that just passed.

“I had so, so, so much fun!” said Georgina Wilson-Burnand.

 

 

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More wedding pics and snaps: @officialtimyap on Instagram, Twitter and snapchat.

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